[R407R, Snowshoe Mountain] in West Virginia reports the mid-station will allow opening of the upper portion of Cupp Run and Shay's Revenge earlier in the season, giving skiers and riders access 26 additional acres of terrain in the Western Territory area.

Cupp Run is Snowshoe's signature slope, designed by three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Jean Claude Killy. The slope is home to Snowshoe's annual Cupp Run Challenge.

"This mid-station is a huge plus for the more advanced skiers and riders," said Ed Galford, Snowshoe Mountain's VP of Mountain Operations. "Because of the scope of the two slopes serviced by the Western Express Lift, snowmaking is a huge endeavor, and Cupp and Shay's are usually two of the last slopes on the mountain to be opened. Now, with a little cooperation from Mother Nature, we should be able to have the upper portion of the slopes open in time for the Holiday crowds in late December. Most importantly, the mid-station gives us options. We're still committed to having the entire length of the slopes open as early as possible, but now, no matter what Mother Nature offers us in the early months of the season, we'll have some great terrain open for expert skiers and riders."

Snowshoe reports the new mid-station will increase its early season uphill capacity by 1,200 people per hour. The 26 additional acres will be black diamond, expert terrain, giving more advanced skiers and riders more terrain in the early season.

The Western Express is a high-speed detachable quad, but will not detach at the mid-station, instead running slower to allow skiers to load. The mid-station will be closed when the entire length of the slopes is opened later in the season, allowing the lift to run full speed for the longer trip from the bottom of the slopes.

The mid-station is scheduled for completion by opening day of the 2008-2009 winter season, set for Nov. 26, the day before Thanksgiving.

Snowshoe has also invested in snowmaking upgrades on Cupp Run, and changed the layout of the slope by widening an upper section of the trail.

The resort has also invested in improvements to its beginner areas. This season, 15 Techno Alpine fully-automated fan guns will provide improved snowmaking power to Skidder Slope, which services Snowshoe's Ski School in the basin area. The beginner surface lift on Skidder also saw some minor adjustments this summer to allow easier on-off loading for beginner skiers and riders. Finally, the Magic Carpet lift in the beginner area at Snowshoe's Silver Creek area was moved in order to enhance the beginner experience and give the Ski and Snowboard School an increased teaching area at Silver Creek.

Snowshoe is celebrating its 35th season this winter.